Commencement Spotlight: Annamarie Beckmeyer

For most medical students, the journey to become a doctor follows a prescribed path: medical school, residency, a potential specialty-focused fellowship, and then clinical practice. But some learners, like Annamarie Beckmeyer, MD, JD, pursue additional education and degrees to complement their medical school education.

Dr. Beckmeyer just graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine with a dual degree — an MD/JD. She decided to pursue a law degree while in medical school to integrate two of her passions and get a head start on her career.

At graduation, Beckmeyer received the Steven G. Gabbe Award for exemplary performance in obstetrics and gynecology and she will soon begin a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“I always knew Ob/Gyn would be the heart and soul of my career,” Beckmeyer says. “But law also touches what we do as doctors, and a better understanding of patient health within the legal system will make me a better doctor.”

An internship in hospital administration gave Beckmeyer a new perspective on the effect a mission-driven hospital can have on patient health and how medical care is delivered to the community. She says that learning about compliance issues was especially enlightening.

“I was very inspired as I pursued my JD to see that working in the public administration space, I could also improve health on a broader level,” Beckmeyer says.

Beckmeyer credits an extensive list of mentors whose support was crucial in helping her through her education and research journey. She took a class on health law with Patti Zettler, JD, associate professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, which led to a collaboration with the nationally recognized expert on food and drug law and policy. She assisted Zettler on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) law textbook on FDA drug regulation by conducting research and working on chapters. Beckmeyer also worked on research projects in Ohio State’s departments of Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

“I am very enthusiastic about gathering and synthesizing knowledge and data experts can use to improve health,” Beckmeyer says. “Having the support of an academic institution is really valuable.”

The Ohio State College of Medicine offers a variety of dual-degree programs, allowing learners to complete their medical education and work toward a JD, PhD, MBA, MPH or MHA at the same time. Students who opt for concurrent education can often finish their training in less time than it would take to pursue an MD and another program separately.

Beckmeyer says dual degrees make physicians like herself well rounded and educated in other aspects of medicine.

“Whether that’s the business of medicine, public policy or consulting, all those things benefit from having people with clinical backgrounds,” Beckmeyer says.